Tomorrow morning I leave for Global Pet Expo for a two day blitz of the conference. I am really looking forward to it because the last pet show I attended, SuperZoo in Las Vegas, was so fascinating with all the great new innovative pet products.
For the last several years I have been immersed in the veterinary profession. I enjoy working with veterinarians and those companies and organizations that are in the profession. I am proud to say I have attended dozens of national veterinary conferences including fifteen North American Veterinary Conferences in Orlando. All told, my teams and I have launched over 125 campaigns in animal health!
But, the pet business is where I started. My late stepfather, Dino Barbarisi, was actually one of the early “pioneers” in the industry. He started in New York City at the age of nine breeding goldfish in his basement to sell to local pet shops. He later worked on the international coffee exchange where he learned the transhipping business. Together with my mom they launched several companies and traveled around the world. It was Dino that took me to my first pet show — the Bakker show in Chicago. It was a heady experience.
While I worked at several ad agencies after I graduated college, I finally worked in the family business when I had my oldest two children — now grown. It was an agency colleague of mine that remembered I had worked in the pet business that led me to accepting a position to lead public relations for the Hill’s Pet Nutrition account at the time. I soon created and launched, “Pets Need Dental Care, Too!” in the veterinary profession and the concept carried over to the pet business.
Although I worked in the family business and related businesses, I still don’t have as many pet conferences under my belt as veterinary conferences. I am still taking notes, recalling fond memories with those still around and making new friends. I am indeed looking forward to this show and reporting back!